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Stage 2: The domains of Napoleon

30/06/2013
Today we have reached Ajaccio, the beautiful city that saw the birth of Napoleon on August 15th 1769. Always accompanied by intense heat, we have contemplated the marvellous landscapes of southern Corsica where the figure of the emperor is present in all the most hidden corners of the Corsican capital.  Nowadays the emperors of the leaders have granted us an excellent stage and finish where the Belgian Jan Bakelants has won and has been dressed in the yellow shirt. Today he is the king. Many were surprised by his triumph; I was not at all.  I know him very well, he is a great cyclist whom I saw win a Tour of the Future in 2008 in front of Rui Costa and he has tremendous physical strength although injuries have been a big handicap for him.   I have always followed him and am very happy for him... although he is not one of ours.
Stage 2: The domains of Napoleon

Historia BHToday we have reached Ajaccio, the beautiful city that saw the birth of Napoleon on August 15th 1769. Always accompanied by intense heat, we have contemplated the marvellous landscapes of southern Corsica where the figure of the emperor is present in all the most hidden corners of the Corsican capital.  Nowadays the emperors of the leaders have granted us an excellent stage and finish where the Belgian Jan Bakelants has won and has been dressed in the yellow shirt. Today he is the king. Many were surprised by his triumph; I was not at all.  I know him very well, he is a great cyclist whom I saw win a Tour of the Future in 2008 in front of Rui Costa and he has tremendous physical strength although injuries have been a big handicap for him.   I have always followed him and am very happy for him... although he is not one of ours.

Moreover, the weather is good; with high temperatures, that benefits road transit.  The cyclist get into shape quicker although some handle it better than others do.  Miguel Indurain loved suffocating days although I remember exceptions like Chechu Rubiera that raced better in the rain, but that is not normal.  Cold weather blocks your legs and causes too many risks.  On the other hand, there is not much atmosphere; to the contrary, at other race starts, the public is not jamming the pathways.  It is a small island with many tourists that live apart from the race but even so, all those that still encourage at the starts and finishes show enthusiasm. An although it seems not possible the absence of public during the first days is not bad for the cyclists because sometimes disagreeable situations are produced when there is too much public and at the beginning, when there is much nervousness, sometimes more tranquillity is needed. 

Historia BH

Going back to heat, today I remember the suffocation 1983 Tour. Of all those I have seen, it was the worst in this aspect.  The Sun did not give ease up even once and the racers arrived exhausted at the finish line.  Bernard Hinault could not fight for his fifth victory due to an injury but a youth emerged with much innate talent that managed to win the day: his name was Laurent Fignon, who unfortunately died. With champion stripes, he was superior to veterans like Zoetemelk, Van Impe and Angel Arroyo who finished second.  He lasted two years as a professional and nobody counted on Fignon but he demonstrated a maturity not in accord with his age and above all limitless ambition.  I remember he was called "the professor" due to his glasses and intellectual aspect.  That year the heat was a factor that had its influence but it was not decisive; great racers win in any circumstance and Fignon was one of the chosen.

That is all my friends. Greetings from Corsica! 

 

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